HelpUsAdopt.org Faces Homophobia
HelpUsAdopt.org is an organization we’ve written about before on G Philly. Founded by Becky and Kipp Fawcett (Becky is former marketing director for Philadelphia magazine), the organization has been helping couples and single people around the country adopt children – including many same-sex folks.
Recently, however, one of the organization’s volunteers resigned over HelpUsAdopt.org’s support of same-sex adoption. And when Fawcett – HelpUsAdopt.org’s executive director – first received the email about it, she admits she was shocked. “But sadly, I was not necessarily surprised,” says Fawcett, who has faced an uphill battle ever since she first wanted to include gay and lesbian couples in the program at the start.
“Apparently after months of talking to this person – who happens to be adopted – last Monday,” Fawcett explains, “they realized that HelpUsAdopt.org supports LGBT adoptions. This is shocking to me because they approached us last fall. Also shocking to me is that our mission statement, which is very clear on everything we do, is everywhere – including in the signature of my emails. And we are very vocal about what we do – because we believe in it.”
Since HelpUsAdopt.org first began awarding grants in 2007, Fawcett has helped to build 43 families, including same-sex couples and single parents. At least four of these grants have been to the LGBT community. “For some reason we have trouble getting the LGBT community to apply,” says Fawcett, who actively reaches out to gays and lesbians in hopes that more people will consider the program.
For the folks who have applied, they have received grant money that goes toward expenses associated with adoption – expenses that turn out to be substantial. Fawcett and her husband learned this first hand when they began the process of adopting their own son – which inspired her passionate cause.
“Most people tell me that they don’t believe we are really here to help,” she says. “But believe it.”
The volunteer who recently resigned cited religious reasons for being unable to support HelpUsAdopt.org.”Personally, I always thought that the fundamental element of all religions is to teach compassion, acceptance and kindness,” says Fawcett.
When asked why Fawcett decided to include same-sex singles and couples at HelpUsAdopt.org, her response was simple: “Why wouldn’t we?” She says, “It’s one of the main reasons that HelpUsAdopt.org was founded. We wanted to help others become parents through adoption. Once we adopted our son, we were sadly shocked when we found out how other organizations – and people – defined family. We don’t think that way. It was never on our radar screen to exclude anyone. I mean, why would you?”
Fawcett admits that this recent experience – while frustrating – is not getting her down. She says she’s working every day to reach out to potential parents – gay and straight alike – who want to raise children.
“This experience confirms that HelpUsAdopt.org is doing exactly what we should be doing – making a significant difference in the world of adoption,” says Fawcett. “And we are grateful to the thousands of people who do believe in what we do and are also committed to change. This experience still infuriates me, but I am now able to take my anger and turn it in to something useful: drive and commitment.”
Please note: Fawcett will be speaking with Barbara Casey, Esq., at Equality Forum during a segment about LGBT Adoptions on Sat., April 30 (3:30-4:45 p.m.) at Temple University Center City, 1515 Market St. HelpUsAdopt.org will also have a table at the Family Forum event earlier in the day.